Lying Media Bastards

June 28, 2005

Star Striped Tongue

President Bush gave a speech tonight on the one year anniversary of the (largely symbolic) transfer of Iraqi power from the US’ Coalitional Provision Authority to the US puppets at the interim government. Clearly, this is part of a PR counter-offensive (coupled with the recent Republican declarations that liberals are pussies and traitors and pedophiles) to the drooping public support for the Iraq war. I imagine that this speech will give Bush a mild, temporary spring upwards in the polls, if anyone bothered to watch the speech. Which they probably didn’t.

As is my tradition, I never watch or listen to the president’s speeches, because it would cause me to die young (I accidentally caught about 40 seconds of it on my car radio and was screaming “fuck you!!” repeatedly). Instead, I just read them online, after the fact.

I knew this manufactured event was coming, and dreaded it. I thought about how the press would act like this is another battle between Democrat and Republican, and the White House would try to spin the speech one way and the Dems would try to counterspin it and blah blah blah. I decided that I had no interest in spinning anything. I decided instead to take this speech, nail it to the wall, cut its arms off, then start tearing its organs out, and watch it die as it tried to breathe without any lungs.

So let’s get started with that, shall we?

Good evening. I am pleased to visit Fort Bragg, home of the Airborne and Special Operations Forces. It is an honor to speak before you tonight.

Y’know what’s funny? To me, Fort Bragg is most famous for the shocking series of murders in the summer of 2002, where four Fort Bragg soldiers killed their wives.

At first, these murders seemed to be a horrifying example of human killing machines gone wrong, or of the military’s blind eye towards domestic violence. Then, a second hypothesis emerged, that these soldiers were suffering from psychotic side effects of their military-prescribed anti-malaria drug, Lariam. Which might actually be the explanation.

And that’s where the president chooses to give his speech. Surely not the symbolism he was looking for.

My greatest responsibility as president is to protect the American people

“And by ‘American people’, I mean ‘wealthy American people.’ Y’all understand that, right?”

I thank you for your service, your courage and your sacrifice. I thank your families, who support you in your vital work. The soldiers and families of Fort Bragg have contributed mightily to our efforts to secure our country and promote peace. America is grateful and so is your commander in chief.

“Notice how my lips are saying words like ‘thank you’ and ‘grateful’, not words like ‘pay raise’, ‘adequate funding for equipment’ or ‘timetable for withdrawl.’”

The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror.

I really hate this “war on terror” bullshit. “Terror” is an emotion, and our soldiers are not shooting bullets at it. We’re at war with the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, some of its allies, and militant Iraqis who want the US to stop occupying their country.

The terrorists who attacked us and the terrorists we face murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises all dissent. Their aim is to remake the Middle East in their own grim image of tyranny and oppression by toppling governments, driving us out of the region and by exporting terror.

This is surprisingly accurate for a Bush speech. Well, it’s accurate as long as he is describing Al Qaeda and other Islamist movements and not anybody else. But I imagine that he’d like to lump the Iraqi resistance into that group. In fact, I’m pretty sure he will before the speech is out.

To achieve these aims, they have continued to kill in Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Bali and elsewhere. The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent, and with a few hard blows they can force us to retreat. They are mistaken. After September 11, I made a commitment to the American people: This nation will not wait to be attacked again. We will defend our freedom. We will take the fight to the enemy.

Wow, doesn’t the president have a huge cock? I mean, he says manly stuff like that, so his penis must be enormous. And although it looks clean-shaven, I’m sure his face is covered in manly stubble. And he smells like leather. And gunpowder.

True, we did “take the fight to the enemy” when we attacked Afghanistan. We also killed a hell of a lot of innocent Afghans, sent others to Guantanamo, and then left the people at the mercy of the warlords, but I’ll be damned if we didn’t take the war to the enemy. And then we overshot the enemy and invaded Iraq. Not sure what that “defending our freedom” shit is about. Al Qaeda just wants to kill me. The only people threatening my freedom are in Washington DC.

Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war. Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, in Washington and Pennsylvania. There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home. The commander in charge of coalition operations in Iraq, who is also senior commander at this base, General John Vines, put it well the other day. He said, “We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us.”

I love the rhetorical change-up here. Watch how it goes.

1) The United States invaded Iraq for the entirely selfless act of saving its people from oppression and suffering. That’s it, that’s the only reason we’re there.

2) It’s too dangerous to fight the war on terrorism on American soil, let’s do it in Iraq so that all the death and destruction happens to them.

Please, Republicans, pick one fake argument and stick with it.

Our mission in Iraq is clear. We are hunting down the terrorists. We are helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror. We are advancing freedom in the broader Middle East.

“Our mission is clear. We are hunting down terrorists, who didn’t exist before we turned Baghdad into a gravel pit. We are helping Iraqis build a fake democracy that will need our permission to do so much as fart. We are advancing freedom in the Middle East, except for Iran, and Pakistan, and Egypt. And Kuwait. And Turkey. And Qatar. But how bout that Lebanon? Eh? Eh?”

We are removing a source of violence and instability and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren.

“Whoops, couple typos here. We are CREATING a source of violence and DEMOLISHING the foundation of peace for our children and grandchildren.”

The work in Iraq is difficult and it is dangerous. Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed. Every picture is horrifying and the suffering is real. Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it, and it is vital to the future security of our country. And tonight I will explain the reasons why.

This oughtta be good. Bring it on.

Some of the violence you see in Iraq is being carried out by ruthless killers who are converging on Iraq to fight the advance of peace and freedom. Our military reports that we have killed or captured hundreds of foreign fighters in Iraq who have come from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and others. They are making common cause with criminal elements, Iraqi insurgents and remnants of Saddam Hussein’s regime who want to restore the old order. They fight because they know that the survival of their hateful ideology is at stake. They know that as freedom takes root in Iraq, it will inspire millions across the Middle East to claim their liberty as well. And when the Middle East grows in democracy, in prosperity and hope, the terrorists will lose their sponsors, lose their recruits and lose their hopes for turning that region into a base for attacks on America and our allies around the world.

I’ll let Prof. Juan Cole field this one:

Maybe 8 percent of the fighters in Iraq are foreign jihadis. Of the some 25,000 guerrillas, almost all are Iraqi Sunni Arabs who dislike foreign military occupation of their country. You could imagine what people in Alabama or Kentucky would do if foreign troops came in and tried to set up checkpoints in their neighborhoods.

Moreover, many of those jihadis fighting in Iraq wouldn’t even be jihadis if they weren’t outraged by Bush’s invasion and occupation of a Muslim country.

The fact is that the US went in and convinced the Sunni Arabs of Iraq that we were going to screw them over royally, driving them into violent opposition. They aren’t inherently terrorists and could have been won over.

Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: “This Third World War is raging” in Iraq. “The whole world is watching this war.” He says it will end in “victory and glory or misery and humiliation.”

The terrorists know that the outcome will leave them emboldened or defeated. So they are waging a campaign of murder and destruction. And there is no limit to the innocent lives they are willing to take.

You hear that? If we don’t stay in Iraq and outrage so many Muslims that they become anti-American militants, then the terrorists might become stronger!

We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who exploded car bombs along a busy shopping street in Baghdad, including one outside a mosque. We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who sent a suicide bomber to a teaching hospital in Mosul. And we see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who behead civilian hostages and broadcast their atrocities for the world to see.

Another sloppy rhetorical move. The insurgents are all barbarous terrorists who understand no language except force. Frankly, it seems more likely that the insurgents are former Iraqi military who lost their livelihoods when the US disbanded the Iraqi army. And in their anger, desperation, and national pride, they have decided to kill as many Americans and Iraqi “collaborators” as necessary to get the Americans to go home. But no, they’re all mindless, head-chopping sadists.

These are savage acts of violence but they have not brought the terrorists any closer to achieving their strategic objectives. The terrorists, both foreign and Iraqi, failed to stop the transfer of sovereignty. They failed to break our coalition and force a mass withdrawal by our allies. They failed to incite an Iraqi civil war. They failed to prevent free elections. They failed to stop the formation of a democratic Iraqi government that represents all of Iraq’s diverse population. And they failed to stop Iraqis from signing up in large numbers with the police forces and the army to defend their new democracy.

“But we haven’t accomplished our strategic objectives yet either. Hell, we thought we’d be out of this country 18-months ago.”

The lesson of this experience is clear: The terrorists can kill the innocent but they cannot stop the advance of freedom. The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September 11, if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like bin Laden. For the sake of our nation’s security, this will not happen on my watch.

“Or, maybe the terrorists just haven’t tried hard enough to stop the advance of freedom. Damn slackers.”

I think what Bush is trying to say in the latter part of that segment is that just as the chaos of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan allowed Al Qaeda to organize and train there, so would a de-occupied Iraq become a new Al Qadea home.

Ooh, and it won’t happen on his watch? How’s he fit those huge balls into his slacks?

In the past year, we have made significant progress: One year ago today, we restored sovereignty to the Iraqi people.

Right. Because a people can have sovereignty when a foreign army occupying your lands.

In January 2005, more than 8 million Iraqi men and women voted in elections that were free and fair and took place on time.

A free election… under a foreign military occupation.

We continued our efforts to help them rebuild their country. Rebuilding a country after three decades of tyranny is hard and rebuilding while a country is at war is even harder. Our progress has been uneven but progress is being made. We are improving roads and schools and health clinics and working to improve basic services like sanitation, electricity and water. Together with our allies, we will help the new Iraqi government deliver a better life for its citizens.

People in Baghdad still don’t have full electricity and water. And that’s the capital of the whole country! Oh, and don’t mention “progress in rebuilding” to the people of Falluja. You’re likely to get stabbed.

In the past year, the international community has stepped forward with vital assistance. Some 30 nations have troops in Iraq, and many others are contributing nonmilitary assistance. The United Nations is in Iraq to help Iraqis write a constitution and conduct their next elections. Thus far, some 40 countries and three international organizations have pledged about 34 billion dollars in assistance for Iraqi reconstruction. More than 80 countries and international organizations recently came together in Brussels to coordinate their efforts to help Iraqis provide for their security and rebuild their country. And next month, donor countries will meet in Jordan to support Iraqi reconstruction.

As I recall, Afghanistan got a lot of pledges too… pledges that never seemed to fully materialize.

Whatever our differences in the past, the world understands that success in Iraq is critical to the security of our nations. As German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said at the White House yesterday, “There can be no question a stable and democratic Iraq is in the vested interest of not just Germany, but also Europe.”

“We are so fucked in Iraq that I’ll even ask my enemies for help.”

Finally, we have continued our efforts to equip and train Iraqi security forces. We have made gains in both the number and quality of those forces. Today Iraq has more than 160,000 security forces trained and equipped for a variety of missions. Iraqi forces have fought bravely helping to capture terrorists and insurgents in Najaf, Samarra, Fallujah and Mosul. And in the past month, Iraqi forces have led a major anti-terrorist campaign in Baghdad called Operation Lightning, which has led to the capture of hundreds of suspected insurgents. Like free people everywhere, Iraqis want to be defended by their own countrymen, and we are helping Iraqis assume those duties.

This is fucking ridiculous. Sure, there are tens of thousands of Iraqis who’ve gone through “training”, but that training is pretty rudimentary. While the US military is saying that there are 169,000 newly trained Iraqi soldiers, they admit that only 3 of the new 107 Iraqi batallions are “capable of operating independently. Which, if we do the math… means around 4700 Iraqi soldiers are ready to replace the 150,000 American soldiers who can’t beat the rebels.

On top of that, the new police and military seem to be pretty thoroughly infiltrated by insurgents, making the whole enterprise kinda questionable.

So our strategy going forward has both a military track and a political track.

The principal task of our military is to find and defeat the terrorists and that is why we are on the offense. And as we pursue the terrorists, our military is helping to train Iraqi security forces so that they can defend their people and fight the enemy on their own. Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.

Okay, we’ve already discussed this. On top of that, Bush is ignoring (or is ignorant of) the fact that they tactics and behavior of the US troops and their government in Iraq are creating mroe terrorists. I don’t see what’s so hard to understand about that. I’m not saying “let’s be nice to the terrorists.” Those guys are a lost cause, fuck em. I’m saying let’s not give regular Middle Eastern folks a reason to get angry at the US, because sometimes that anger brings mortar fire along with it.

To further prepare Iraqi forces to fight the enemy on their own, we are taking three new steps:

You can read those three steps, but they basically amount to “we are helping the Iraqi soldiers to get ready to take our place.”

So, to recap so far:

- “America had to attack Iraq because of the terrorists.”
- “But we won’t be there much longer, cuz we’re training Iraqis to do our work for us.”

He keeps making this second point again and again, so I’m deleting them.

I recognize that Americans want our troops to come home as quickly as possible. So do I. Some contend that we should set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces.

“And I’m one of those people.”

Re: Clinton’s war in Kosovo:

“Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”
- George W. Bush, 4/9/99

“I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.”
- George W. Bush, 6/5/99

Let me explain why that would be a serious mistake. Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done. It would send the wrong signal to our troops, who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve. And it would send the wrong message to the enemy, who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out. We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed and not a day longer.

At least this time Bush uses actual logic. But since the insurgency is a direct result of the American presence in Iraq… I can’t agree with his conclusions.

Some Americans ask me, if completing the mission is so important, why don’t you send more troops? If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their job. Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight. And sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever, when we are in fact working for the day when Iraq can defend itself and we can leave. As we determine the right force level, our troops can know that I will continue to be guided by the advice that matters: the sober judgment of our military leaders.

“If I send in more troops, it looks like I’m wrong. And I can never ever admit to that. Only liberals make mistakes. Ann Coulter told me so.”

[snip]

Bush just spent a bunch of paragraphs detailing how Iraq is going to become a democracy. Remember, the blueprint is not the building. Just cuz something looks good on paper doesn’t mean that your finished project will look good, or indeed anything like your original idea.

As Iraqis make progress toward a free society, the effects are being felt beyond Iraq’s borders. Before our coalition liberated Iraq, Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. Today the leader of Libya has given up his chemical and nuclear weapons programs. Across the broader Middle East, people are claiming their freedom. In the last few months, we have witnessed elections in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon. These elections are inspiring democratic reformers in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Our strategy to defend ourselves and spread freedom is working. The rise of freedom in this vital region will eliminate the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder and make our nation safer.

While Bush likes to pretend that bombing Iraq led to Libya’s disarmament, it was more due to years of negotiations with the British. Palestinian elections are nothing new, but the Lebanese election was. Go Lebanon! We’ve seen little reform and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt’s reform looks to be a facade.

[snip]

“Terrorists are bad, and America is strong. 9-11 9-11.”

In this time of testing, our troops can know: The American people are behind you. Next week, our nation has an opportunity to make sure that support is felt by every soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman and Marine at every outpost across the world. This Fourth of July, I ask you to find a way to thank the men and women defending our freedom by flying the flag, sending letters to our troops in the field or helping the military family down the street. The Department of Defense has set up a Web site, AmericaSupportsYou.mil. You can go there to learn about private efforts in your own community. At this time when we celebrate our freedom, let us stand with the men and women who defend us all.

I don’t support the troops, I support people. Some of the soldiers are good folks who believe lies that they are told. Some are scared people trying to make a living and make it home to see their kids again. And some are sadists who enjoy the harm they do. You could probably say the same thing about any soldiers in any army in history. And like any compassionate person, I want everyone on all sides of the conflict to stop killing and join their families at home as soon as they can. This means sending the US troops home as quickly as possible.

I understand about fighting for freedom, or protection, or your loved ones. But the US troops are not doing any of these things right now. They’re fighting and dying because some arrogant bastards in Washington think that the world spins a little more smoothly when greased with the right kinds of blood.

To the soldiers in this hall, and our servicemen and women across the globe: I thank you for your courage under fire and your service to our nation. I thank our military families; the burden of war falls especially hard on you. In this war, we have lost good men and women who left our shores to defend freedom and did not live to make the journey home. I have met with families grieving the loss of loved ones who were taken from us too soon. I have been inspired by their strength in the face of such great loss. We pray for the families. And the best way to honor the lives that have been given in this struggle is to complete the mission.

“Thanks to all the veterans and soldiers who, I can use as props to drape all my policies in stars and spangles.”

I thank those of you who have re-enlisted in an hour when your country needs you. And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces. We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves. Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our nation’s uniform. When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom.

“Sure, I had my daddy’s friends pull some strings to get me into the national guard instead of service in Vietnam. But that shouldn’t prevent you poor people from enlisting to participate in, or be the victim of, a petroleum-based murder.”

After September 11, 2001, I told the American people that the road ahead would be difficult and that we would prevail. Well, it has been difficult. And we are prevailing. Our enemies are brutal, but they are no match for the United States of America and they are no match for the men and women of the United States military.

“Lies. Boasting. Flattery. Flag.”

May God bless you all.

“Worthless fuckers.”

Posted by Jake on June 28, 2005 10:55 pm

Reaping, Sowing, Irony

Last week, the Supreme Court made a fairly scary ruling which announced that local governments can seize your property against your will and give it to private interests. In the past, local governments have had the power to seize your land via “eminent domain” for public projects like streets or roads. But now, its apparently enough to say “some company wants this land to build a hotel. And a hotel will be good for the city’s economy.”

Which brings us to our genius prank of the day: a clever libertarian has filed plans with the city of Weare, New Hampshire, to build a hotel on the site of Supreme Court Justice David Souter’s house.

Logan Darrow Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

The proposed development, called “The Lost Liberty Hotel” will feature the “Just Desserts Café” and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon’s Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged.”

Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.

“This is not a prank” said Clements, “The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development.”

Clements’ plan is to raise investment capital from wealthy pro-liberty investors and draw up architectural plans. These plans would then be used to raise investment capital for the project. Clements hopes that regular customers of the hotel might include supporters of the Institute For Justice and participants in the Free State Project among others.

Godspeed, gentlemen, godspeed.

Posted by Jake on June 28, 2005 6:52 pm

Bring Me the Head of Heathcliff Huxtable

Here is a fun, ridiculous and super duper weird online animated series called House of Cosbys.

It’s about a guy who likes Bill Cosby soooo much that he clones multiple copies of them so they can all live in a house together. And by the end of the first episode, that is the least strange part of the premise. It’s funny stuff. I think if you watch it, you won’t demand those 5 minutes of your life back.

But we may never see episode 5, as The Cos has sent a cease and desist notice to the website and they seem to be complying (although since it’s obviously a parody, I doubt Cos has legal standing here).

So, in conclusion… I like cartoons.

Posted by Jake on June 28, 2005 6:44 pm

Pieces of Eight

Next month, England hosts the annual G8 summit meeting at the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland.

Unlike other summit meetings like the WTO or NATO or the OECD, the G8 is not an institution. It’s eight guys who run the world’s eight most powerful nations, who make decisions that are going to effect the rest of the world, unrestrained by charters or constitutions or rules. Y’know, sort of like King Arthur and Cobra Commander and Vlad the Impaler and George Washington and Mussolini getting together for drinks and to divvy up international spoils. Well, that’s not how they put it, of course.

What’s that you say? True, none of the leaders in that previous example were democratically elected. Unlike our own nation, where 30% of the eligible voters selected one corporate-picked dandy over another. Or like Britain’s Tony Blair, who’s so popular that he barely held onto office last election while his party lost 100 seats in Parliament. Or Italy’s media-mogul plutocrat Silvio Berlusconi. Or Russia’s Validmir Putin, who used to run with the Soviet Union’s secret police.

All I’m saying is that the G8 isn’t exactly an exercise in democracy. And I guess I’m also saying that all of the world’s major democratic institutions are total jokes.

Anyhow.

The agenda for the 2005 G8 meeting seems to be two-pronged, focusing on the issues of global warming and Africa’s many catastrophes. It looks as though this agenda is being pushed hard by Tony Blair, possibly to distract his people from that whole Iraq quagmire thing.

We’ve already seen the likely outcome of the global warming discussion; the White House has been working behind the scenes to weaken the “draft action plan” to such an extent that it even refuses to acknowledge that global warming is actually ocurring, let alone taking steps to prevent/reverse it.

These alterations were made by White House Council on Environmental Quality chief of staff Phillip Cooney. Who, before joining the White House in 2001, was a lobbyist for the oil industry (American Petroleum Institute). And two days after news reports came out showing that Cooney altered the wording of scientific reports to downplay global warming, Cooney has announced that he’s quitting the position– to join ExxonMobil.

The second G8 issue could have some positive effect. Already the US and UK have agreed to forgive the debts of 18 poor nations, totalling $40 billion (although UK charity Christian Aid estimates that unfair “free trade” policies have cost sub-Saharan Africa $272 billion over the past 20 years). However, I still have to be suspicious. I mean, when the head of Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt declares this particular abolition of third world debt to be “a sham”, we should probably pay attention. Although I can’t find corroboration, the CADTM (apparently the foreign language anacronym for the organization) article claims that the current debt relief plan only cancels debt payments from now through 2015, and then they’ll be back on again. It also claims that the only countries eligible for debt relief are ones that will “open up their economies to foreign investment.” Generally, “foreign investment friendly” means mass privatization, cuts in public services, and the gutting of environmental and labor laws. So you’d have to wonder which way the folks are really better off.

So this G8 thing will probably not help the environment, but could potentially help the people of Africa. Or fuck them over further, I’m not sure yet.

Posted by Jake on June 28, 2005 5:30 pm

June 26, 2005

SD Activists Under Fire

I go round and round with this story, and don’t know what to make of it.

In the past few weeks, about a dozen activists in San Diego and Los Angeles have been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury. Grand juries are rather scary gatherings in which the person who testifies has very few rights and can go from “witness” to “suspect” at the drop of hat. Your basic options at a grand jury hearing are “answer the question” or “go to jail.” It can quite clearly work as a form of intimidation, of “rat on everyone you know, or we’ll throw you in prison.”

This San Diego version all seems centered around a speech given by radical environmental and animal rights activist Rod Coronado in Hillcrest in 2003. It seems that all of the subpoenaed attended this lecture, and that’s it. As far as I know, Coronado isn’t wanted for any crimes (although he has served time for past arrests) and is not in hiding. So I really don’t know what the FBI is up to here.

But I’ve got some theories.

One that I’m hearing a lot is that this is an attempt by the FBI to undermine the local activist community. No matter their intent, their actions are accomplishing this goal to some extent (although there has also been some unity in rallying to defend the subponaed). I’m not sure why the FBI would be going after the SD activist community, apart from their usual opposition to citizens trying to control their government.

The most reasonable explanation seems to be FBI incompetence and desperation. The day before Coronado gave his speech, the Environment Liberation Front (ELF) torched an apartment complex under construction in the wealthy San Diego neighborhood of La Jolla (no one was hurt). As I understand it, law enforcement has absolutely no leads on who committed that crime or where to find them. And given their lack of any leads, they say “hey, maybe if we randomly interrogate people who went to a radical environmentalist’s speech, we might find somebody who knows somebody who can give us a hint.” On Law & Order, they call that a “fishing expedition”.

But in addition to that, the federal government has an overly keen interest in such radical groups as the ELF or ALF (Animal Liberation Front); although they never hurt individuals, they can cause significant financial damage to business-owners. And government is often very responsive to the concerns of business. The FBI actually says that these groups are the “top domestic terrorism issue”. Terrorism? I thought terrorism was about mass murder and fear, not arson and stealing lab animals. Due to this misplaced focus on ELF and ALF (hey FBI, how about keeping an eye on the guys going down to the border with guns saying how much they hate immigrants?), I think it’s just as likely that this is a fishing expedition trying to get info on these groups in general more than it is about this one particular fire.

But this interview (.mp3) with subpoeanaee (and rasd compadre) Michael Cardenas points out another possibility. Shortly before these subpoeanas were issued, the Justice Department released a report saying that the FBI in San Diego had 5 chances to stop the 9/11 hijackers. Cardenas floats the idea that to distract from a report about their own catastrophic errors, that they decided to start throwing out subpoenas, to make it look like they were making progress in another case.

This article has information about how you can help fight back against this fishing expedition/witch hunt ridiculousness. I’ll reprint those tips here:

Monday, June 27th there is a community forum on the grand jury at 7pm at the First Church of the Bretheren, 3850 Westgate Place, San Diego CA 92105. A number of those who have been subpoenaed and/or have already testified will also be there to talk about their experience and the politics surrounding these proceedings. There will be several attorneys there talking about the grand jury process and a number of long-time activists who will share their stories about how grand juries have been used in the past to break social movements.

The 28th will be the first big day. We need to get a lot of people at the federal building to show support for those subpoenaed and to show our outrage at this attack and the growing repressive atmosphere in this country. Bring signs and yourself.

You can do (4) four things right now!!!

1) We are calling on people to call their politicians to pressure them to inquire about this fishing expedition and about how the patriot act and the grand jury are being abused. Ask why is due process being thrown out the window and why the FBI cant do a regular investigation that
doesn’t violate peoples civil liberties? Similar pressure stopped a similar grand jury in Iowa in its tracks recently. A few of those people are:

Rep. Bob Filner (619)422-5963
Sen. Boxer (619) 239-3884
Sen. Feinstein (619) 231-9712
Donna Frye (619) 236-6616

City council: http://www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil/

sandiego@fbi.gov, (858) 565-1255

2) Give the media hell for every bad, hysterical article they write about this case!!! Also write letters to the editor in support of the San Diego activist community etc.

3) Donate to the defense of those who have been subpoenaed. The organic collective is accepting donations for their defense which could be a long and ugly process. Those who plead the 5th and refuse to cooperate with this illegitimate process can be sentence to jail for the duration of the grand jury process (18 months, plus possible 6 months extension). People will also be missing work in order to appear in court. Online donations can be made at www.organiccollective.org or alternate arrangements can be made be emailing Rich at plantlife@resist.ca or Marisa (the partner of subpoenaed activists Rob “Ruckus” Middaugh) at marketa12@earthlink.net.

4) Talk with every person you know about this case and the increasingly repressive climate that we find ourselves living in in America 2005.

I’ll try to keep y’all posted on this, but you’ll probably have more luck by keeping an eye on the San Diego Independent Media Center website.

Posted by Jake on June 26, 2005 8:47 am

More Indie Media Than You Can Shake a Stick at

Okay folks, I’ve totally got writer’s block regarding my experience at the Allied Media Conference last weekend. I’ve got plenty to say, but every time I sit down to write it, the words look bland and unappealing, like oatmeal or wet cardboard.

I’ll just say that I had a good time, and came back with 17 metric tons of zines, flyers, newsletters, books and whatnot. I got to meet the folks behind the sites for Mediageek, DIYmedia.net, CounterRecruiter.net, and Anarchogeek. Learned a few things, met some cool folks, bowled (although sadly, I think I was the only one quoting The Big Lebowski), and promoted LMB and radioActive a bit. Good times. If I can find some non-goudging airfare prices, I’ll probably check it out again next year. Maybe I’ll follow the plan bubbling in my brain and set up a satirical “Corporate Media Is Neat” booth.

I came away from the conference with a list of tools that could come in very handy for indie media folks, and I’ll share those with you here.

LPFM Channel Search- let’s say you want to start your own low-power FM radio station. To make sure that your station doesn’t interfere with any existing stations, you’d want to make sure to be two full channels away from all channels currently in use (e.g. if there’s a station at 100.3 FM, you’d want to be at least at 100.7 FM). This page lets you search your local community for open frequencies like that.

Odeo- a commercial (gasp!) podcasting service that is remarkably powerful and easy to use. Basically, if you have a computer with internet access, a web browser, and a microphone, you could have your own regular radio show/podcasting channel within minutes. The recording software is actually embedded into their website, so you can click on a “record” button, start talking, and your audio is saved onto Odeo’s own hard drives (you don’t even need your own free hard drive space!), which you can then name and classify and turn into a podcast. Our friend rabble is the tech brains behind this operation, and he is very dedicated to independent and democratic media. Because of this, he’s giving out free Odeo accounts to activists. If you’re interested in this, let me know and I’ll contact him for you.

Podscope- another amazing piece of work. You know that voice-recognition software that your credit card company installed on its customer service lines that doesn’t work? These folks have managed to perfect it and turn it into a “text search of audio files” engine. In other words, you can type in any phrase you want, and Podscope will search all the internet’s podcasts for the audio of someone speaking that phrase. Your search results then pop up with tiny audio players, cued up to the segment of the program that has your phrase. It’s pretty impressive (although not as perfect as I imply. I did a search for my last name, “Sexton” and one of the results was another man’s last name, “Sifton”. Still, pretty good).

infoSHOP direct- basically an online store/paypal-esque service for activists and independent media types, run by activists and independent media types (the folks at Clamor Magazine). If you’ve got a small number of items to sell online, you can use this service and have the money you pay go to folks fighting the good fight rather than the shareholders of Paypal or Cafe Press or wherever.

Anyhow. Thanks to John and Paul for adopting my lonely self for an evening, to Mike and Evan for airport rides, Howie for car logistics, and to Clamor Magazine for organizing the whole thing.

Posted by Jake on June 26, 2005 7:51 am

June 23, 2005

Latest LMB Radio

Here it is, my official podcast feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/LyingMediaBastards. Memorize it, write it on your pants, whatever.

This first show is from June 16. It features readings from Matt Taibbi’s new book and other assorted ramblings. Musically, you’ll hear Massive Attack, Boy Sets Fire, the Von Bondies, Peaches, Alien Sex Fiend, the Apes, Missy Elliott, Johnny Cash, Japanther, Bikini Kill, the Liars, Sleater-Kinney, Dirty on Purpose and more. Unfortunately, our recording software crapped out about, oh, 40 minutes early, so y’all get shorted.

LMB Radio June 16, 2005. Part I
LMB Radio June 16, 2005. PartII

The second show is from today, June 23. It features my reportback from the Allied Media Conference, talk about the G8, Live 8, recent Supreme Court decisions, and stealth censorship. Musically, you get the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Common, Nikka Costa, the Verve, Wayne Kramer, Edan, the White Stripes, Justin Sane, the Horrors, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Ghost Mice, Tool, Beehive & the Barracudas, Dresden Dolls, Betty Blowtorch and others.

I calculated wrong, so the show isn’t divided into two equal parts; part 2 is about twice as long as part 1. You also get a weensy bit of stutter in the stream, again due to our crappy recording software. Fear not, I hear we’ll be upgrading soon.

LMB Radio June 23, 2005. Part I
LMB Radio June 23, 2005. Part II

Posted by Jake on June 23, 2005 11:27 pm

June 21, 2005

The Future, Conan?

Our pals at The Onion have given us their special sci-fi June 22, 2056 edition. Nice parody of our dystopic days to come. I loved the Tonight on the Holovid section, and the title of the “robot law” op-ed made me spit coffee.

Posted by Jake on June 21, 2005 11:11 pm

June 20, 2005

Simple

I’m back, I’ll post a report about the AMC later.

But for now, what Ross said.

And then continued to say.

They’re a couple of dead-on and passionate posts against the ludicrous yet commonly-believed idea that men are unstoppable fucking machines and a woman who gets raped has only herself to blame for getting in the way of one of these forces of nature.

The highlight, in my opinion:

I want to go on record as saying a big, mean Fuck You to every single man who has ever claimed that men are incapable of stopping themselves when pussy is on the line. Here’s why:

I have never raped anyone. I have never hurt someone because they wouldn’t put out. I have never gang raped someone. I have never died from blue balls. I have never exploded because some sideboob accidentally came into my line of sight. I have never raped anyone. Shockingly, I also think this is a pretty normal state of affairs.

This isn’t something I’m proud of. That’s because I can’t be proud of not raping people anymore than I can be proud of not shitting on myself whenever I laugh. Not being a rapist is the default fucking setting. Far as I know, most men have never raped anyone. I assume this means that rapists are a minority of men, and in a normal world you’d think that not being an evil, violent monster would make one more sympathetic to the victims of rape, who are also not evil violent monsters…

Look, I know the majority of men, myself included, are raised in a horribly sexist culture that considers our cock-prerogatives to be of utmost cultural importance. We’re taught to look to the male perspective first, and it bleeds into everything. Sexism is a problem, and women should be ready to deal with it. But guess what dipshits - The answer to that problem isn’t to tell girls “Them’s the breaks. If you can’t handle it, fuck off!” The solution, for those of you not following me, is to fight the actual problem, which is sexism and male entitlement.

The second post goes on to more explicitly deal with our sexist culture where women are always on display, whether they like it or not. Yay for Ross for speaking out against sexism, like all men should.

Sexism is not a “women’s issue”, it’s a human issue. It hurts everyone (although obviously men get a lot of perks along with the hurt). We were all raised in these fucked up societies and all of us got these sexist ideas, concepts and behaviors dumped into our heads– men and women. We should all be actively helping each other get rid of these toxic ideas and practices for everyone’s benefit.

Posted by Jake on June 20, 2005 6:37 pm

June 14, 2005

AMC 2005

I’ll be attending the Allied Media Conference in Bowling Green, Ohio this weekend. Not so thrilled about the Ohio part, but I think the conference will be pretty great.

Here’s how the conference organizers describe the event:

Are you tired of swatting at flies? Frustrated that we’re not forward-leaning enough on our problems? Think it’s time for a full-scale review? Then this year’s Allied Media Conference is for you.

Something’s been holding you back. Now you can find out what it is and how to get past it. This year’s AMC is offering new solutions to the old problems facing all the zinesters, filmmakers, radio pirates, journalists, MCs, and friends out there.

The AMC is the largest gathering of grassroots media makers from all across the country, and it convenes at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. The conference features hands-on workshops, group discussions, film screenings, artist presentations, a large exhibition hall to share our work, and a whole day for educators to learn how to use independent media in the classroom. Set in a small, midwest town, it’s also a space to strengthen our community, meet new people, and enjoy each other’s company.

When I think about it, where am I gonna find people more like me? I’ve been involved in independent media for almost a decade now (more than that, if you count college radio. And you probably shouldn’t). Concerts, film screenings, workshops, panel discussions, presentations, and apparently, bowling. Other folks obsessed with media and politics, and hopefully music. Should be a good time.

Back in April, I noticed that there were two activist media conferences on the horizon, the Second Annual National Conference for Media Reform (organized by the non-profit org Free Press), and the AMC (largely organized by rebellious Clamor Magazine). I looked at the NCMR first, and was turned off for two main reasons: 1) the registration fee for the conference was 85 fucking dollars, and I think that was the “student/low-income” rate. What sort of activists were they expecting to come to this fucking thing? 90% of activists are dirt-poor and 95% of activist organizations have a yearly budget of around $0. Charging this kind of money was… suspicious. 2) “Reform”? About every method of “media reform” I could think of involved begging the government to give the FCC more power, begging the government to put more progressive-minded folks on the FCC board, and begging the government to give more money to PBS and NPR*. Which means that the mass media would remain a for-profit, advertising-coated enterprise for Corporate America, serving their interests and agendas, but maybe with a little less bias for the elites (and that’s if you could make the Republican-dominated Congress take your side. Which you can’t).

That’s the liberal way, isn’t it? Guy steals your wallet, and instead of fighting to get it back, you ask him to loan you five bucks.

So I see another conference about people making their own media, out of passion and principle not profit and power, and which one do I go to?

Some great organizations are going to be there: AK Press, August Sound Coalition, Big Noise Films, Bitch Magazine, Clamor Magazine, ColorLines Magazine, Critical Mass Radio Network, DIYMedia.net, Free Speech Radio News, a dozen Independent Media Center groups, In These Times Magazine, the League of Pissed Off Voters, LiP Magazine, the NewStandard, Paper Tiger Television, Prometheus Radio Project, Punk Planet magazine, Radio Free Nashville, Rise Up Radio, South End Press, WBAI, Wooden Shoe Books, and those are just the groups who’s work I’m familiar with. Probably 50 more organizations will be in attendance to share, learn and network. And I am familiar with about zero of the presenters, which is cool because it means I might hear brand new things (the one guy I have heard of, “mediageek” has asked me to help a little with his workshop on blogs. I will be there and I will be square).

If any of y’all are in the northern Ohio/southern Michigan area this weekend, I’d highly recommend checking out this conference.

[update]

Here’s the flyer I’ll be distributing for mild promotion of my radio show during the AMC.

Fun.

[/update]


* Actually, from the people I’ve read and talked to, the NCMR’s political strategy was even worse than that. It was essentially “the way to reform the media is to donate money to us, Free Press, so that we can pressure the government to reform the media”.

Posted by Jake on June 14, 2005 11:22 pm

Jake Reviews Stuff

Stuff I’ve absorbed lately. I should do more of this, I work at a library for god’s sake.

Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches from the Dumb Season by Matt Taibbi

Go read this now.

I am thrilled by this book, and that’s not a word I ever use. Matt Taibbi is the scathing, far-left columnist of the NY Press who’s articles have been linked to from this site many a time. Frankly, I’m jealous of his ability to be furious and hilarious simultaneously. He just pulls it off better than I do.

The book is an odd mix of Taibbi’s rants about politics and journalism and a visceral diary of his experience covering the 2004 election campaign. My only regret is that some of his latter experiences are somewhat reminiscent of those of Hunter Thompson, which might lead some folks to write Taibbi off as a Hunter wannabe or as Dr. Gonzo-lite.

Long story short, Taibbi sees the American electoral system as a complete farce which papers over the nation’s very real and tangible blights. He therefore gives the campaign and its candidates the respect they deserve: none. He also analyzes and vents his justified disgust at the journalists who refuse to see the obvious truth and play along with the theatrics.
I’m gonna do my damndest to get Taibbi on my radio show soon.

Sorry, I’m gushing. Actually, I’m only halfway through this book, and I guess the second half could still suck.

Oh, and the illustrations are done by our pal David Rees, AKA the guy who does Get Your War On.

Wallbangin’: Graffitti and Gangs in L.A. by Susan A. Phillips.

Although it claims to be focused on graffitti, this book is predominantly an anthropological look at both latino and African-American gang life in Los Angeles. A white, middle class researcher managed to win the trust of gang members in LA, and in her search to understand graffitti comes up with a look at the gangsters themselves, to explain their world to us other white middle class folks. Also, it turns out that gang graffitti is amazingly complicated.

Interestingly, a person who had checked this out from the library before me had tagged up the graffitti photos in the book with their own graffitti, in a very similar style, using ballpoint pen.

The O’Franken Factor Factor: The Very Best of the O’Franken Factor by Al Franken and Katherine Lanpher

Shockingly unfunny. Al Franken had been doing this show three hours a day, five times a week, for over a year when this CD was released, and he can’t find 60 funny minutes? I like Al Franken, but I only found two funny moments on this CD, and one of them was a skit making fun of his own ego.

Coming up on Jake’s review docket (AKA stuff Jake has to read)
Diet for a Dead Planet
Don’t Eat This Book
Our Enemies In Blue
Recipes for Disaster
Batman Begins

Posted by Jake on June 14, 2005 11:19 pm

Irony Coughing Up Blood

You know the Minutemen, right? The cracker militia that is so fed up with people illegally crossing into their country that they are patrolling the borders themselves?

Last week, they tried to patrol a stretch of border in Arizona… by illegally crossing into Cocopah Indian tribal land.

Happily, the Cocopah Tribal Police told the Yuma Patriots that they were not allowed to go to their planned patrol area. The Patriots then patrolled an area near the reservation, and then lied to make it seem as though the Cocopah police had teamed up with their asses.

This hypocrisy is just one more bit of evidence of what should be obvious: the new anti-immigration movement is not so much pro-border as it is anti-latino.

Posted by Jake on June 14, 2005 8:26 am

June 13, 2005

Don’t Kill Your Television

Some years back there was a pirate radio station in Los Angeles called Pirate Cat Radio, run by a single guy who called himself Monkey Man. It was mostly music. One of the unique things about Pirate Cat Radio was that Monkey believed that due to some loophole in FCC regulations, that his broadcast was actually legal. I think he argued that as long as you had submitted an application for an FCC license that you were able to broadcast legally until that license was approved or denied, at which point you could just file another application. Nice argument, but I’m pretty sure he was kidding himself. Still, woo-hoo for non-corporate radio.

At some point, Monkey moved to San Francisco and took Pirate Cat with him, and seems to have blossomed into a multi-DJ station with some amount of political content.

But I was very surprised to hear that Monkey has also expanded out into the near-barren field of pirate television, with Pirate Cat TV. Apparently it’s a shoestring operation, with a library of video files on a computer that simply plays them and sends them out over the airwaves. Monkey seems to think that this pirate broadcast is legal as well.

I haven’t listened to it, but you can hear an interview with Monkey about PCTV on Free Radio Santa Cruz by clicking here.

Posted by Jake on June 13, 2005 8:46 am

June 12, 2005

Straight Dope

On Fox News today, Dick Cheney criticized DNC head Howard Dean for being “over the top.”

At today’s Rainbow-PUSH Coalition conference, a reporter tracked down Howard Dean and tried to get him to rebut Cheney’s statements. Dean’s response was pretty great:

“My view is FOX News is a propaganda outlet for the Republican Party and I don’t comment on FOX News.”

Rock on, Howard Dean.

Posted by Jake on June 12, 2005 6:34 pm

June 11, 2005

Amnesty Rising

I’m helping out a bit with Pandagon’s blogathon for Amnesty International. The site’s two authors, Jesse and Amanda, have vowed to post an entry every 30 minutes for 24 hours straight, from 8am EST June 11 to 8am EST June 12, and ask their readers to donate money to Amnesty. This effort is, of course, a counter-backlash to the Bush administration’s backlash to Amnesty’s lashing out about the US government’s lashing of prisoners and detainees and the like. You can donate by clicking on the button below.

I thought I’d help the two sleep in slightly if I “donated” a few blog entries in advance to post in the middle of the night, but they seem to be posting midday anyway. Ah well.

Go view the bloggy madness.

Amnesty International is sort of two organizations in one. The first half is the “write letters to for the release of political prisoners” project. AI identifies people in foreign countries who seem to have been jailed for no other reason than that they oppose their government’s repressive policies. Then, they get hundreds, even thousands of people to write letters to those governments, demanding freedom for those prisoners. This tactic depends upon (successfully) that these governments’ fears that a mass of foreign letters could turn into policy changes in those foreign countries. And when faced with those fears, releasing one prisoner seems a cheap trade-off. The organization I work for, Axis of Justice, has partnered with Amnesty on multiple occasions to get letters and signatures at rock concerts, and our efforts have gotten at least two political prisoners out of jail.

The second half of Amnesty is their watchdog effort. They act essentially as investigative journalists, trying to ferret out all the human rights abuses that they can, as a way of exposing and hopefully ending them. Of course, exposing a problem doesn’t necessarily lead to a rememdy in all (or even most) occasions, but if no one knows that a government is torturing people in secret, there is certainly no reason for that government to stop their evil.

So this is what the Bush administration is badmouthing: efforts to free innocent human rights defenders, and efforts to tell the world about human rights abuses worldwide. That’s why I’m pissed.

Anyhow. Click below to send some money to Amnesty via Pandagon’s blogathon, either because you want to support Amnesty, because you like human rights, or to poke Bush and Cheney in the eye.

Also, Amnesty is asking that you respond to the White House hoo-ha by asking Congress to establish an independent commission to investigate the abuses at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, etc.




Posted by Jake on June 11, 2005 9:46 pm

Smoking Gun Doggy Bag

A number of activist folks are proclaiming that the Downing Street Memo is a “smoking gun” which finally proves that the Bush administration had decided to wage war on Iraq back in April of 2002.

But this USA Today article from November 2002, that I’ve linked to numerous times, reported that Bush “decided that Saddam must go more than 10 months ago.” Which would mean that the White House made the decision to invade Iraq as early as December 2001.

It is entirely possible that this article is incorrect, but the paper’s insistence that they “interviewed officials at the White House, State Department, Pentagon, intelligence agencies, Congress and elsewhere” for their info is fairly compelling. It also fits the timeline; if Bush denounced Iraq as part of the “Axis of Evil” for the first time in January 2002, it makes sense that he may have decided to oust Hussein the previous month.

So while the Downing Street memo is pretty damning stuff, it seems that it might not correctly portray how long ago the White House formalized their plans. And, it also looks as though we had some ignored pistol haze almost two and a half years ago.

Posted by Jake on June 11, 2005 9:08 pm

June 7, 2005

Half Empty

Good points made by Eric Alterman:

The new ABC News/Washington Post poll, here, shows 52 percent of Americans disapprove of the job President Bush is doing overall, reports ABC News’ Polling director Gary Langer — the most in more than 75 ABC/Post polls since his presidency began. His approval rating is 48 percent…

George W. Bush’s approval rating is now a full twenty points lower than Bill Clinton’s was on the day he was impeached. Dear media, that means you gotta stop referring to him as a “popular president,” and no less important, stop treating him like one.

I don’t trust opinion polls, but mainstream journalists and pundits tend to take them at face value. At face value, Bush’s numbers have been hovering just below midpoint for weeks. Now, I’d love to jump the gun and declare him “unpopular” because his negatives outweigh his positives; sadly, that would be dishonest. But if you believe the poll numbers, then it would be just as dishonest to claim that he was popular.

One of the most insightful books about the press that I’ve ever read was Robert Parry’s “Fooling America” (which is out of print, unfortunately), which depicted the Washington journalists like any other group of insecure gossips, aspiring to be top of the Kool Kid pile, but fearful of falling into the depths of the uncool. This kids want to be right in the middle of the pack, not too far ahead of or behind the trend curve. And although we think today that journalists are the ones who like to get the scoop before anyone else, Parry showed how this clique only wanted to get the scoop just before anyone else did; if you were too far along the cutting edge– even if it turned out that you were right– your peers saw you as a nutcase.

How long till Bush’s popularity puts him in their sights? How long till it’s cool to go after the president? Maybe someday we get to see the flesh chunks flying.

Posted by Jake on June 7, 2005 11:05 pm

June 3, 2005

LMB Radio 6-02-05

Another LMB radio show is up for download.

Part 1
Part 2

Here is the podcast feed. Could someone do me a favor and check to see if it works?

[update]

Okay, that podcast link doesn’t work properly. This one does, but it’ll only get you the first half of the show. I’ve figured out what the glitch is, and hopefully the next upload goes more smoothly.

[/update]

This was a mostly rock show, featuring KMD, Portishead, Johnny Cash, Rage Against the Machine, the Von Bondies, Wayne Kramer, The Black Keys, A Perfect Circle, Tiger Bear Wolf, the Slackers, Powerman 5000, the Necromantix, Kiss Me Deadly, The Apes, NWA’s “Explicit Content Only”, Plastilina Mosh, 1905, and more.

On the non-musical front, I discuss San Diego’s current red tide, the antics of the Governator, Clear Channel chicanery, the White House vs. Amnesty International, subverting Mickey D’s, Deep Throat, and take a call from the strange, Sprite-Loving “Rufus Rockafeller”.

Special guest DJ Ci Ci. Who isn’t so much a DJ as she is a cat, who wanders into the studio and sleeps on top of my things.

Posted by Jake on June 3, 2005 9:43 am

June 1, 2005

Red Tide 2

I went back to the beach last night, hoping that the red tide was still in effect. After recommending that all my coastal readers check it out, I was a bit anxious; if it was already over, I’d feel like a jerk.

I was by myself this time, my dad and my brother asleep in their beds. Drove down and tried to park away from any street lights. I looked out at the water… and it remained dark. Uh oh, maybe the phenomenon was done. I clambered down some rocks to the sand and threw my sandals aside. I’d heard that with the red tide that if you walked in the wet sand, that you’d leave glowing footprints, so I gave that a try. Nothing. But man, that water was warm, for ocean.

I looked out at the water, long and hard. Wait, was that a bit of light out there, or was it just the reflection of the moon, or the street lamps? No, it was blue! The red tide was still around. I guess the organisms were staying out further, or needed more of a kinetic push tonight, because only the larger, rarer, distant waves were lighting up. That’s why I didn’t see anything before.

I rolled up my jeans and waded out into the water to get a closer look (yes, I am aware that jeans and sandals are a fashion no-no). Wait, was I alone out here? Jesus, there’s no one else, just me on a mile-long stretch of beach. I gotta do this more often.

I tried to get my bulky jean cuffs to stay above my knees with mixed success. Fuck it, I want to get closer. Then I hestitated. If I walked out there, would the light just move further back? Would I scare away the plankton? Hell, is that even possible? Can you scare plankton?

I got out there a ways, maybe 50 feet from the breaking waves, grinning as the roiling white foam flashed blue and turquoise. It looked like there were strands of those blue Christmas lights in there, lighting the foam from within.

So odd, subtle yet not. I mean, it’s not like the waves were bright beacons turning night into day. It was just like any other coastal night, except sometimes parts of the waves glowed shades of bright blue. But that little bit managed to skew everything, in a good way.

Just me, and empty beach, and dark sky, and black waves, and liquid light.

I’m no nature boy, but I love me some ocean.

Posted by Jake on June 1, 2005 7:44 pm

It’s Notta Product Placement

I’m just so irritated about this I’m not even adding any snide commentary.

Here is the newest TV ad for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, talking to average Joes in a nondescript cafeteria.

Here is the report that points out that the food items on the table in this ad all come from corporations that donated money to the Schwarzenegger campaign.

That’s right, Schwarzenegger put product placement ads into his commercial.

Let’s check the photos. Looks like everything is a subsidiary of Pepsi Co or Nestle Inc., which gave Schwarzenegger $30,000 and $279,000, respectively.

What a scumbag.

Posted by Jake on June 1, 2005 3:19 pm

I’m Lovin It

This is one of the most bizarre political actions I’ve seen this year.

The Billboard Liberation Front took an unused billboard and turned it into, well, this:

In case you can’t see that image so well, it’s of an animatronic, distorted, Ronald McDonald shoving hamburgers into the mouth of a fat child.

The poster behind the two is a painting of a fat Ronald and a fat alien (a “gray”) smiling at each other. In between the two figures was the McDonald’s arches, with the words “To Serve Man” typed over it. “To Serve Man” is the name of a famous Twilight Zone episode, where benevolent aliens come to Earth and feed the population, until one man discovers that the aliens are really just fattening up the human race so that they can become alien supper.

But presenting this subersive message of forced gluttony and alien conquest wasn’t enough for the BLF. Several dozen of them dressed up like Ronald and/or the Hamburglar, danced around the billboard, and then mobbed a local McDonald’s, moaning for cheeseburgers.

Of course, the BLF notified the media that such a stunt would be happening, so word of their pranky message got spread far and wide.

See why I can’t give people advice about activism? I never would have thought of saying “build a robot and dress up like the Hamburglar.”

Great photos, videos, and reports of the event here, here, and here.

[via Boing Boing]

Posted by Jake on June 1, 2005 1:45 pm

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